During the 2020 World Expo, many visitors will be introduced to Dubai for the first time, from young families to the big names of the future. It’s this first impression of vibrancy and cultural distinction that became our foundational approach to the STAR 2020 project: a mixed-use campus gateway with exhibition space, retail opportunity and a residential master plan. Rather than only designing for an enclosed indoor space, a key focus in our approach to the STAR 2020 project was to rethink how Dubai is experienced year round in a mixed in and out-door campus setting. Dubai’s climate must be grappled with when deliberating the year round occupation of exterior spaces, and to overcome this, we managed to leverage many natural and passive sustainable methods within the design to bring greater comfort to visitors. Massing optimization was used to achieve increased shadow coverage, glazing orientation angled to reduce direct incident heat gain, natural climate cooling through pools and vegetation, and indigenous high R-value ceramics as shading louvers and surfaces on facades. Coiling through the site is a dual corridor of retail, forming themed “oasis plazas”. In order to provide thermal protection and improve comfort to visitors during their shopping and leisure experience, we oriented the taller hospitality massing components on their sides on top of the retail blocks, thus utilizing their shading capability over longer portions of the site. The result is a stacking logic that creates countless shopping experiences and paths for discovery, keeping the visitor intrigued each time they visit the campus.
Dubai Star 2020
UNStudio Ben van Berkel, Frans van Vuure, Harlen Miller, with Fernando Herrera, Frank Fdida, Shankar, Sarah Roberts, Henk van Schuppen